Over Thanksgiving break, the holiday spirit got the best of me and I ate like I didn’t want my pants to fit anymore. Bring on the cream! Pass the butter! Both desserts, please! The truth is that I do want my pants to fit. I like my pants. Anyway, I came home from my five day Oklahoma holiday craving vegetables, but arrived find an empty refrigerator. I made do that night with some sorry-looking avocado smashed on toast and a leftover whiskey cocktail from the last week’s photo shoot (as much as I want my pants to fit, letting avocado and good booze go to waste is a shameful offense).
Developing this enchilada recipe was a high priority when I got back to town, as my initial attempt before the holidays was nothing I’d want to serve others. I knew I wanted to go in a different direction this time. While I usually try to incorporate the most fresh, in-season produce available, I didn’t want to create a recipe that required roasting those tough winter vegetables before stuffing the enchiladas.
It occurred to me that if I had more than one mouth to feed after coming home from a holiday, I’d like to have some wholesome recipes that called for pantry and freezer ingredients in my back pocket. So I embraced jarred, roasted red peppers and frozen spinach and corn for this recipe and came up with hearty, produce-packed enchiladas. I’d like to think that those hungry mouths would clamor for this dish any day, not just when the refrigerator is barren. I am thoroughly enamored with the roasted red pepper sauce and resulting dish myself.
The only fresh ingredients that might necessitate a trip to the store here are cilantro and avocados. I wouldn’t skip them, as the cilantro lends a burst of fresh flavor and the avocados contribute rich creaminess. I have some storage tips to share in that regard. First, store your cilantro in the fridge, with the bunch of cilantro in a small mason jar filled partially with water like you would a vase of flowers. Cilantro will keep well that way for one to two weeks. Choose avocados that still have their little “button” on the smaller end attached. If you can peek under the button and see green, you have a winner. Store the avocado in the refrigerator when it’s close to ripe to slow its ripening. Avocados from Mexico has more tips here.
- 8 ounces jarred, drained roasted red peppers (mine came in a 12-ounce jar)
- ¼ cup water
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 8 ounces frozen spinach
- 8 ounces frozen corn
- 1 14-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained (or 2 cups cooked black beans)
- 1 7-ounce can diced green chiles, drained
- ½ cup roasted red pepper sauce sauce
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 8 to 10 corn tortillas
- 1 cup shredded Jack cheese (about 4 ounces)
- 3 to 4 avocados from Mexico
- ⅓ cup chopped cilantro leaves, loosely packed
- ½ lime, juiced
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and oil a 13x7 or 13x9-inch baking pan. In a food processor or high-powered blender, combine all of the sauce ingredients. Blend until smooth. If you taste the sauce now, you may find by the raw onion flavor overpowering. Don’t worry, it will mellow out thanks to the lime and after spending time in the oven.
- In a medium skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and chopped onion. Sauté for a few minutes, until the onion starts to turn translucent and starts lightly browning around the edges. Add the frozen spinach and corn and cook until warmed through and the juices have mostly evaporated. Add the black beans and green chiles and cook until warmed through. Remove from heat and pour in ½ cup enchilada sauce and feta cheese. Mix and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Gently warm the tortillas so they don’t break when you roll them. The easiest way to do this is to place them in a stack in the microwave under a damp paper towel and microwave for about 60 seconds. Leave the paper towel on top to keep them warm as you roll. Working one at a time, lump a scant ½ cup filling down the middle of each tortilla and roll snugly. Place it with the seam side down in your baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, placing each rolled enchilada snugly next to the other until you have used up all your tortillas.
- Pour the enchilada sauce down the middle of your row of enchiladas and give the pan some little shakes to help distribute it. Sprinkle the Jack cheese down the middle. Bake the enchiladas for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese is melted, the enchiladas are warmed through and the top of the tortillas are just crisp. Let the enchiladas cool for five minutes, during which you can pit, peel and dice the avocados. Combine them in a bowl with chopped cilantro and toss with a big squeeze of lime juice. Divide the enchiladas onto plates, top with a healthy amount of the avocado mix and serve.
- Recipe created with guidance from The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.
- I had enough filling to fill 10 tortillas, but only 8 tortillas came in the package and I ran out of room in my baking dish. I’ll make huevos rancheros for breakfast with the leftovers.
- You may notice that the baked enchiladas shown have quite a bit of liquid at the bottom of the pan. Although it didn’t seem to detract from the flavor or texture, I went ahead and reduced the amount of water in the sauce to remedy the situation.
- Spinach, corn and bell peppers are on the dirty dozen list, so buy organic if possible.
- This meal is gluten-free if you buy gluten-free tortillas.
Disclaimer: This is a working partnership with Avocados from Mexico and Muy Bueno Cookbook and I was compensated for recipe development. Opinions expressed are my own, always. The truth is I love avocados!